Corporate Express sets up managed services business

Plans to be profitable by the end of the year

Corporate Express has bolstered its offerings to the market adding a managed services business and launching into cloud computing.

The unit will be headed up Calvin Bradshaw, who joined the company from Brisbane-based Mincom. Not including help-desk, the managed services unit is supported by 30 staff.

Corporate Express general manager of IT solutions, Ahmed Latif, said there was misconception in the market on what Corporate Express offers, and stressed it has a very strong enterprise solutions and services business.

“Our plan is very aggressive when it comes to financial returns,” Latif said. “We’re looking to be profitable by the end of the year, with the next customer, our operational expense would be well covered. We’re aiming to be a multi-million dollar annuity business by the end of next year.”

The managed services offering is primarily targeting mid-market to low-enterprise customers between 250 - 1000 seats.

“Mid market is our key, but we’ve got four 1000 seat plus organisations that we’re targeting and we’re confident,” Latif said. “There’s a gap in that space, and some of the players that come into that space are trying too hard to imitate the top players and 1000-seat organisations feel like orphans at the moment, and that’s the sort market we want to go after.”

Latif said it previously had a small managed services business catering for the sub-50 seat market, but has since brought in better tools, and built a smart service desk solution centered around ‘assyst’, an IT service management solution from Axios Systems.

“We have been doing a lot of research with customers and we’ve put together a package that gives you a best-of-breed offering with a lot of value, putting together the best call centre, response and resolution experience,” he said.

The cloud services offering comprises of storage, back up, security and email.

"We have been delivering virtual private cloud services for some time, and we have rounded out our off-premise offering with both a public cloud offering and an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering,” he said.

Corporate Express is also ramping up its enterprise solutions business, and brought back former Corporate Express employee, Trevor Voss, to head up its datacentre optimisation practice.

“He has been building it up pretty well to the point where we’ve got core accreditations across partners such as EMC, Symantec, HP, IBM, APC, Cisco and VMware,” Latif said. “We’ve seen some growth there, but this is the year where we’re going to see more growth for this business.”

It has also recently hired some more business development managers in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, bringing staff numbers up to about 200.